How Our Cable Bill Cost Us Our Vacation to Mexico

March 29, 2017 in Stories

Ok, so we still went to Mexico! But upon getting back from out blissful honeymoon it was time to get down to marital financial business. JR and I had never lived together before we were married so that first night after getting back from Mexico was super weird. He wasn’t going to leave – he lived with me now! So upon the merging of our lives, our bank accounts, and our (eek!) debt, it was time to make a plan. I should probably start off with the disclosure that we are sort of (mega super obsessed) Dave Ramsey followers. Also, household budgeting and spreadsheets are my jam. I have 3 spreadsheets we check twice a month and we have knocked out a substantial amount of debt in the past 10 months (I’m talking upwards of $25k!) but we can save that for another post. This is about cutting down are our monthly household expenses.

If you follow Dave you know that your household expenses – i.e. mortgage, home insurance, car insurance, gas, electricity, phone bill, ect. should total around 50% of your take home income. We wanted to get to the point where we could potentially live off one income so we tried to get it down to 30-40%. Our cable bill was a whopping $120 a month so we got rid of it. The verdict: If rock beats scissors then Cancun beats Dish Network.


Below is the cost savings and what we paid monthly last year compared to what we currently pay. I also offset the first year cost since you will have to purchase a Roku or Apple TV type device. Your monthly Dish Network bill may be different but this is what ours was 3 years into a contract. $1200 will get you to Mexico and back, drinks included!

Also, here are the best links to book vacations to Mexico: Southwest Vacations, Funjet, Apple Vacations.

You’re welcome.

How We Survive And Still Get Our Weekly Bachelor Fix

We first called and asked for a discounted rate on Dish Network (what we had previously). Since the accounts are logged by social security number there isn’t a way to get the introductory promo rate twice. They offered to lower it a whole $5/month so in turn they got an over-the-phone-eyeroll and a “thanks but no thanks.” We did some research and decided the Roku 3 was the best option for us. I’ll spare you all the details but essentially by cancelling with your cable provider you are going to lose all the non-major network channels (i.e. Bravo, HGTV, E!, ESPN, and more). The only shows we are extremely addicted to are on CBS, ABC, NBC, and FOX so it wasn’t a huge problem for us. Below is what we currently pay for and some additional options.

Good Ol’ Satellite: We got a satellite antenna for $1.00 at Goodwill and use this to watch prime-time time-sensitive major networks. For example, The Bachelor. The Bachelor is pretty time sensitive – one glance at Facebook at 10:00 p.m. on a Monday can ruin the whole episode for you. Thankfully (and as many forget) it’s free to watch with an antenna! We also are a little (super fan level) obsessed with Survivor. We have a weekly lottery game with 3 other couples with rules and cash prizes and strategy…I’ll spare you – but we HAVE to watch Survivor as soon as it airs so we watch this through local programming as well.

Hulu: This is how we watch all of our prime time favorites. Most are limited commercials or commercial free. The biggest cons are that Hulu does not carry CBS (#Survivorsuperfanprobs) and you have to watch everything a day later (or after midnight from the day it aired.)

Netflix: This one doesn’t really count because I feel like even if you have cable you still pay for Netflix or have access to a login. Our current binge watch is Friday Night Lights – I know, super late to the party on this one. Our (actually just mine) other favorites are Homeland, House of Cards, Master of None, Santa Clarita Diet, and Parenthood.

Amazon Prime: This one also depends if you are currently paying for it or not. If you are not, the savings make it so Prime is super affordable. We use Amazon Prime to watch some shows (Jane the Virgin- obsessed) and rent (or watch for free) movies. Movie rentals on Amazon Prime are around $3 and they have pretty much everything!

CBS All Access: For Survivor. Someone (JR) decided to sign up for basketball league on Wednesday nights and can’t watch this season at it’s regularly programmed time. We also love Bull and MacGuyver.

What We Don’t Have:

ESPN and Big Ten Network – Solution: The monthly savings alone could pay for a round of beers for the entire bar that you have to go watch the game at. And let’s be real all you Husker fans out there – you never watch the game at your house anyways. (Also see SlingTV note below)

HGTV, E!, Bravo, and all those other channels – Solution: Sling TV. We don’t have Sling TV but it costs $20-30 a month and includes ESPN for those averse to bars and/or friend’s homes.

HBO – Solution: HBO now offers HBO NOW for those with out a network provider. It costs around $15/month. We never had HBO prior and may or may not have an HBO login (it’s actually not illegal) so we can watch Big Little Lies.

That is all I can think of that you would miss. If you are not sufficiently entertained after all of these options or really feel like you will miss all those Dish music channels like Roadhouse and Mo’Soul then I would suggest keeping your $120/month bill. If not, go for it – CUT THE CORD! I’ll be on standby with a tough pair of scissors.

How the Roku Works and Other Options

If I’ve convinced you and you’ve made it this far you are probably thinking what is this Roku nonsense. Essentially it is a little box that hooks up to your TV to make it a Smart TV. It offers a bunch of different apps and has one handy remote to access all your favorite channels. We have the Roku 3 and haven’t had any problems with it and wouldn’t upgrade to the Roku 4 if we purchase an additional one for a second TV. The only difference is Full HD vs. Ultra HD. We also have friends that have Apple TV and love it. Here is a great comparison guide to a lot of the other options.

Things to note are you will need to buy one for each TV in your home. We only have one TV and will probably expand to two once we finish the basement. If we had to go out and buy one today we would buy the Roku TV. You may also have a Smart TV. If that is the case you won’t have to buy anything. The only advice I can give regarding Smart TV’s that you don’t have the option to update your software so that could be a problem in 2-3 years into owning one. The Roku and Roku TV allow for software updates. You would probably be better off just buying a cheaper regular TV and a Roku.

Overall, we haven’t missed having cable once, not ONCE! We haven’t missed any monumental TV moment and honestly watch a lot less TV then we used to.

That is all the info I’ve got! Whose headed to Mexico with me?


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  • Reply Kelly July 7, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Great suggestions but what do you do about internet?

    • Reply thehappycamp July 7, 2017 at 8:04 pm

      We have basic high speed internet. I work from home so that is a necessity!

  • Reply Ashley April 4, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Love this! We only have Netflix but that definitely limits you on current shows. It’s crazy how much cable can cost!

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